Mr. Mencken explains Mr. Trump

Mencken“When a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental — men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack or be lost… All the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” — H.L. Mencken, Baltimore Sun, July 26 1920

Never a good sign when a candidate puts out an ad saying, “I’m not a witch.”

And that candidate is? Why Christine O’Donnell (R-You’re Joking), of course.

 

What’s especially impressive is that it gets WORSE after she assures us she’s not a rhymes with b … i ….

As Stewart or Colbert put it, “All this information is coming from an unreliable source: Christin O’Donnell.”

FWIW, I believe her. I can’t believe there’s a coven that would take her.

Officials ban ballot use of phrase "NOT the ‘whiteman’s bitch’ "

Wisconsin election officials are preventing Ieshuh Griffin from using the above phrase below her name on the ballot. Ms. Griffin is running for the state Assembly and, you’ll be surprised to hear this, she’s running as independent. Quoth the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal: “Unlike candidates from the established Democratic and Republican parties, independents are allowed a five-word statement of purpose on the ballot to explain to voters what their candidacy is about.

The state’s Government Accountability Board apparently has at least three members who either have a sense of humor or an admirable dedication to the First Amendment or both as the board voted 3-2 in favor of the phrase. Unfortunately, it takes four votes to approve and so the voting this fall will be far less colorful.

Ms. Griffin defended her slogan by saying: “"I’m not making a derogatory statement toward an ethnic group. I’m stating what I’m not. It’s my constitutional right to freedom of speech." Had the phrase been allowed it certainly would have posed a challenge for any truth-in-advertising requirements. How, exactly, would one prove whether or not you are the whiteman’s bitch?

It’s probably no surprise to you to learn that Ms. Griffin is African-American, as retiring Rep. Annette "Polly" Williams, whose seat Ms. Griffin is running for. Rep. Williams said that some of her constituents were offended by the phrase. Not so board member Thomas Barland, who voted to allow Griffin to make the statement. "She says a lot in five words. It wasn’t pornographic. It wasn’t obscene, and I didn’t interpret it as racial." Like the other five members of the board, Mr. Barland is a retired judge who is not African-American. Which would seem to make him the perfect person to judge whether someone is or isn’t a bitch for his particular ethnic group.

Oil spill is a crude and growing advertising trend

bullshitplug400x566 It’s an ill tide that … Spirit Airlines latched on to The BP Oil Spill as a way to divert attention from its own PR fiasco of charging for carry-on bags. So they launched a campaign with bikini-clad women in all glistening in sun screen with the tag of "Check Out The Oil On Our Beaches. While I’ve seen more risqué (and clever) things on the Benny Hill Show, someone somewhere objected to this. (And pardon me if I suspect Spirit of being behind this.)

Twitter users from all over the world have been tweeting about the advert while an indignant Facebook user has started the group ‘Tell Spirit Airlines their oil ads are offensive’.

Meanwhile, a chain of NYC gyms managed to come up with something slightly funnier. The NYSC is running ads which read, “Exercise sharpens the brain. Oil execs come in ASAP.” (For some reason CNN called the ad “tasteless.” A bazillion gallons of oil in the Gulf and you think this is tasteless?)

The marketing is seeping into new media with apps for both the Droid and iPhone that let you A) plug the spill or B) save a little yellow duck from turning brown. Elsewhere, everyone is trying to make political hay from the oil. In Minnesota, the Democratic opponent to Michelle Bachmann (R-Loon Lake) is flinging petrol-soaked mud because Bachmann also said the government was extorting money from BP to pay for the spill. In Maryland, Gov. Martin O’Malley claims his opponent is an oil company stooge because he once voted for tax breaks for the oil companies. Not to be outdone, the GOP has a video blasting President Obama for having the temerity to play golf during the oil spill. I really am not ready for a world in which the GOP disapproves of someone playing golf. That’s like the Democrats attacking brie. Have you no sense of decency, man?

What little quality advertising has been done about the oil spill has come at BP’s expense both thematically and fiscally. The beleaguered Gulf state tourism boards are desperate to get people to come visit. To that end, New Orleans launched a campaign with the tagline: “This isn’t the first time New Orleans has survived the British.” You know you’re desperate when your ads are built around a reference to the War of 1812. Next up, a Millard Fillmore quote. Probably the best thing about these ads is that BP is picking up the tab for them. Florida has already burned through the $25 million BP gave them for advertising and is now preparing to go back to the well for more.

But my personal favorite BP-related marketing effort comes from TerrorBull Games – the company which brought us War On Terror: The Boardgame. They are offering a free, downloadable game called Operation: Bullshit Plug (my but they do love colons over there).

This game is for two players. Each player takes a role – either ‘BP’ or ‘The Public’ and each player has two cards that represent two possible strategies. BP is trying to shore up its dwindling share price, while the public just want the leak plugged. Both players pick a strategy and play it face down, simultaneously. These are then revealed and the effects on the share price and the leak are worked out. This action is then repeated until the game ends. It’s very simple, takes just a few minutes to play, but is also quite devilish and deceiving.

Plus you get that cool/disgusting Ralph Steadman-esque picture.

Not a good sign when a candidate has to say he supports the Civil Rights Act

There is a story that Lyndon Johnson, during one of his early campaigns, wanted to start a rumor that his opponent sleeps with pigs. (Lyndon being Lyndon most definitely did NOT say “sleeps with.”) When an aide objected that they couldn’t prove it the future president is reputed to have said, “I don’t need to prove it. I just need him to deny it.”

I was reminded of this when I heard that Dr. Rand Paul, the brand new GOP candidate for the Senate from Kentucky, had to issue a statement saying that he does, in fact, support the Civil Rights Act AND the Americans With Disabilities Act. He had to do this because …

…in an interview with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, Mr. Paul appeared uncertain about whether he would have supported forcing private businesses to desegregate in the 1960s, suggesting that might run afoul of his libertarian philosophy. His views emerged as Ms. Maddow asked Mr. Paul if he thought a private business had the right to refuse service to a patron who was black.

Dr. Paul has thus done to himself what his Democratic opponent, AG Jack Conway, could only have dreamed of. He has raised the issue that he doesn’t, regardless of whatever his actual position is. That’s enough. It likely won’t cost him the election but I guarantee that it has already cost him votes.

The above quote, by the way, is from the New York Times which many folks would say is the standard-bearer for the Liberal Media. That would be the same NYT who broke the story on Connecticut’s Democratic senatorial nominee lying about serving in Vietnam. Liberal media, my ass.

NBC CEO’s campaign slogan: Proven incompetence!

If you think the selection of clowns in DC couldn’t get any worse, guess again. NBC CEO Jeff Zucker – the guy who gave us Lenovision and nearly killed his network and its affiliates in the process – says he would “certainly look at” running for political office.

Speaking on the Joe Scarborough show, Jeff “10% Of Americans Are Unemployed and I’m Not?” Zucker said he would be good because

"I do think that there would be a benefit to having people who have run businesses in office — who have a sense of how to how to get something across the finish line, make hard decisions that actually everybody can get behind … I think we just have to get the cynicism behind us and we have to get some things accomplished and I think people who can do that would be very helpful and beneficial.”

“We have to get some things accomplished and I think people who can do that would be very helpful and beneficial.” I heartily concur with Mr. Z on this! If he would care to suggest someone with those qualities I would welcome it.

Between him and Carly Fiorina, it feels like politics is what you do after you’ve tried to wreck your company.

How big a deal was yesterday?

I do not know a greater pessimist than my father, CollateralDamage Sr. A life in journalism earns you that. During that life he covered civil rights movement in the South. Yesterday he told me about being in a housing project in Selma, Alabama, on the night that President Johnson essentially told Congress that it had to pass the Voting Rights Act. TVs were a much rarer thing then and people gathered in one apartment to watch Johnson’s speech on a small black-and-white. He told me how people started to cry on hearing that their government was finally going to be on their side. And then he said with more than a little wonder, “That wasn’t that long ago.”

BTW, let me also mention Mother CollateralDamage. She will tell you that she was not in fact at the march in Selma in 1965. That is because her bus connections were lousy and she got there late. Personally I give her a mulligan on that one.

Who’s winning the World of Warcraft vote?

While McCain’s ad hominem attack on Dungeons & Dragons earlier this year would seem to put him at a distinct disadvantage, the poll results are surprising. And incredibly funny.

Thanks to Mike Elgan who writes the wonderful blog Raw Feed for this one!

Biden reaches past historical accuracy for a greater truthiness

Over at Reason, someone unearthed this gem from Joe Biden’s sit down with Katie Couric: “When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the princes of greed. He said, ‘look, here’s what happened.'”

As has been pointed out at the blog:

  • Roosevelt wasn’t president when the market crashed.
  • Television was just an experiment. If FDR had gotten on TV and said this he would have been talking to an audience in the mid- to high-single digits.

On the plus side for the Obama campaign: This is an original idiocy and does not seem to have been plagiarized from anyone else.

McCain returns fire brilliantly

The senator’s pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is brilliant. Far better than either of the two people I suggested yesterday. Now if he can just let her do the talking and get everyone else in the campaign to shut up.

Ooooh, it’s going fo be a fun 67 days. And by fun I mean really really ugly.

Self-serving attempt at ballot box stuffing

OK, I’ll admit that I like getting pointless awards and such as much if not more than the next person. The voting for blogger’s choice awards is open and I’m up in the humor, business & marketing categories.

My site was nominated for Best Business Blog! My site was nominated for Best Humor Blog! My site was nominated for Best Marketing Blog!

The truth is I will win none of them and shouldn’t given the categories. (I got an honorable mention in marketing when the blog started out as part of CMO magazine). If there was an award for best humor business & marketing blog, I still wouldn’t win but I’d have a shot. That said, I will now beg for your vote in one or all three of the categories above. Click on one of the pictures and it will take you to the site and yeah you have to register to vote so it’s a pain and I’m sorry. And yeah, I know these awards are even less meaningful than a people’s choice award.

All that said, allow me to list my campaign promises in an attempt to win you over:

  • I will or will not (depending on your preference) take a stand on a controversial subject
  • I won’t increase taxes.
  • I won’t raise your cholesterol.
  • I won’t wage a negative campaign — despite using won’t a lot.
  • I will not coddle terrorists.
  • I will not infringe on your civil liberties.
  • I will support your right to bear arms as long you are not an idiot.
  • I will provide universal health care for my dog and office manager Roxxy.
  • I will eat my vegetables.
  • I will offer you a cup of coffee (or tea).
  • I will say thank you and I will say excuse me after I burp.
  • I will say no to drugs — except a few like FlowMax that you really wish I wouldn’t mention.
  • I will put down the toilet seat.
  • I will think a lot about cleaning up my office.
  • I will not start any wars.
  • I will go to Disney World (although not any time real soon).
  • I will brush and floss regularly.
  • I will take time to smell the roses even though they aren’t my favorite flower.
  • I will cackle with glee when the Yankees any team from New York loses. (Heather — is this better?)
  • I will listen to both country and western musics.
  • I will try to have the longest categories list of any blog anywhere.
  • I will not run GM into the ground.
  • I will cry havoc and loose the penguins of irony.

Covering O’Biden or McCan’t conventions a giant waste of media money

The political conventions are perfectly timed this year, serving as a perfect antidote to the just finished Munich Beijing Potemkin Olympics. Whatever their many moral faults, the Olympics weren’t boring.

This year I became entranced with field hockey. That was fun to watch. Not as much fun as Usian Bolt, but nothing is as much fun as watching Bolt. The fun couldn’t even be spoiled by the commentator kvelling about how if Bolt had just really focused when he won the first two gold medals he really could have done something. A) He won the damn races going away, so shut up. B) He showed plain old fashioned joy while doing it, so shut up.

The only thing that could have made these games better would have been if NBC had dedicated one channel to a constant live feed of the complete lack of activity in the officially sanctioned protest sites. Oh wait. One other thing could have made this better… any sign of moral cojones on the part of the athletes. Dudes & Dudettes this is the 40th anniversary of Tommie Smith & John Carlos simply raising their fists in salute during the Mexico City games. Yeah, they had to put up with a feces storm the likes of which I can’t imagine. But they never had to wonder about their own integrity. I wish one medal winner had had the courage to receive his or her award with a piece of tape over his or her mouth. That’s all it would have taken. It’s not like you were being asked to stand unnarmed in front of a tank. My self-righteousness is unjustifiable. I participated too. I watched the damn things.  I wasn’t even willing to sacrifice changing the channel, who the hell am I to ask others to do anything?

But I digress …

Now our dusk to dawn interlude of strange and interesting sports and moral peregrinations is about to give away to O’Biden vs. McCan’t. At a time when the press is bleeding money it is impossible for me to understand the amount of money that is spent covering two events with practically no news value whatsoever. I have been told there will be some 4,000 15,000 (thanks Tim!) members of the media covering each convention. 4K people spend a week hoping one person — any person — makes a mistake by straying from the script.

It would be tougher — and more interesting — to cover a house fire. (Actually I’ve never covered a pre-scripted event, so maybe they are tougher than they look. I have covered fires. I know those are tough.)

And just a note to the O’Biden team — WHO THE HELL DOES A MAJOR NEWS RELEASE ON A SATURDAY IN AUGUST? Any bump from the announcement is dead by the time Monday rolls around and people start paying attention again. It almost looks like you didn’t want the pick of The Human Wind Tunnell to get much play.

Suffice to say, we will all be well and fully informed watching whatever snippets The Daily Show and Colbert Report decide to run.

Just as idiotic as the resources spent on covering the conventions is the importance given to them. It will be banner headlines everywhere when Obama gets the official nod but I have no idea why. I always thought news was supposed to contain … well … news. It would be amazing if anything that happens at either confab rises to a level that justifies putting them above the fold on the front page. (Note: This is jargon from back in the time when dead trees were kings of the media world. Above the fold means the news is important enough to be on that prime piece of real estate first seen by the consumer. Below the fold means it is important but still on the bottom of page one and therefore on the side of a folded paper away from the consumer. Anyone wishing to learn more useless newspeak from back when mastodons roamed the media should email me. -30-)

President Idol goes to New Hampshire

Doesn’t this picture make it look like Hillary & The Pips?

pips

(via CNN’s Political Tracker)

Unfortunately for Hill, one of the back-up singers is showing her up.

I saw my first Hillary ad last night and it struck me as exactly the wrong tone. She was all gushy and friendly and CARING. Hillary should be campaigning as tough and protective. The underlying message should be, “Nobody messes with me and I won’t let them mess with you. I’ll protect you the way I protected Chelsea from the media.” Let the guys be sensitive, be butch Hillary!

BTW, I somehow missed this — further proof that it’s WorldofWarcraft’s world and we just live near it…

Political rallies and marches are nothing new, and online campaigning is a well known trend, but when the two come together with a bunch of gnomes, it’s hard not to take notice.

Grassroots supporters of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul have invited supporters that play online game “World of Warcraft” to join them in a rally and march on New Years Day. Organizers of the virtual event have scheduled the event to start in the snowbound city of Ironforge, so it’s sure to involve lots of gnomes and dwarves, before they march to Stormwind.

No word at this point if “Horde for Hillary” or “Orcs for Obama” counter events have also been scheduled.

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